U.S. Amateur Championship – 2018 Preview, Reports & Results

Sunday 19th August 2018

Viktor HOVLAND (NOR) beat Devon BLING (USA) 6&5 in the 36-hole Final of the U.S. Amateur Championship at Pebble Beach Golf Links.

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Viktor Hovland (Photo: USGA)

The Final was effectively won around the turn on the first 18 holes when Hovland won four holes in a row. Bling bogeying 8, 9 and 10 before Hovland birdied 11. The Californian battled to the end but was always unlikely to recover such a deficit against the in form Norwegian.

Hovland is just the second Continental European to win the U.S. Amateur. Edoardo Molinari (ITA) won in 2005 at Merion Golf Club, besting Dillon Dougherty (USA) 4&3 in the Final.

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Match Play Final Results (Photo: USGA)

Click here to view the full – U.S. Amateur Championship Results

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Saturday 18th August 2018

Devon BLING (USA) beat Isaiah SALINDA (USA) by 1 Hole to win the first Semi-Final.

Devon will play Viktor HOVLAND (NOR) in tomorrow’s Final after the Norwegian overcame Cole HAMMER (USA) 3&2 in the other match.img_9822

Match Play Semi-Finals Results (Photo: USGA)

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Friday 17th August 2018

Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG) lost 3&2 to Cole HAMMER (USA) in their Quarter Final match.

Cole (18), arguably the best amateur golfer in the world at the moment, came into this week having already won the Azalea Invitational, the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball (with partner Garrett Barber) and most impressively the Western Amateur Championship this season. He starts his college career at the University of Texas in September and is certainly one to watch.

After the match Cole said to the U.S.G.A.: “I think when I won the Azalea earlier this year, when I came out on top in a playoff against Hugo Bernard and Joe Pagdin, I felt like I belonged in amateur golf rather than just in junior golf. Actually even before that, last year at the Jones Cup, I came in third, and that’s a pretty solid finish for 17 [years old]. But this whole year has gradually been a rise to the confidence that I have now.”

As can be seen from the hole-by-hole scores below this was a hard fought contest with both players in good form. Cole was -3 for the holes played and Alex -2.

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C. Hammer v. A. Fitzpatrick Match Play Quarter Final Scores (Photo: USGA)

Fitzpatrick (19) can now look forward to starting his freshman season at Wake Forest in September with renewed confidence knowing he belongs at this level.

As this year’s eight quarter finalists each earn an exemption into the 2019 U.S. Amateur he can at least take solace in the fact he has also punched his ticket for next year’s U.S. Amateur already.

Europe’s other representative Viktor HOVLAND (NOR) continues to impress. Following his second successive 7&6 win the Oklahoma State player appears to be the man to beat. In beating Austin SQUIRES (USA) he won seven consecutive holes (2-8) and equalled the largest margin of victory in an 18 hole Quarter Final record.

Here are the full results from the Quarter Finals: –

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Match Play Quarter Finals Results (Photo: USGA)

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Thursday 16th August 2018

Match Play Round 3

For the second time on Thursday Alex FITZPATRICK required extra holes to get the win.

This time McClure MEISSNER was beaten on the 19th Hole. As with this morning’s round Alex bogeyed the par 3 17th to put himself under pressure. After three putting the 18th for a 6 and a fortunate half it was great to see the Yorkshireman birdie the 1st extra hole to end the match. 39 holes in a day is more than enough for anyone.

Mesissner is not someone I have heard too much about but having beaten both Brad DALKE and John AUGENSTEIN in the previous rounds he was clearly playing very well.

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A. Fitzpatrick v. M. Meissner Match Play Round 3 Scores (Photo: USGA)

Speaking to the U.S.G.A. after the match Alex was understandably delighted to have made the Quarter finals: “It means a lot. This tournament has been something I’ve really wanted to get in from the start of the year. I’ve worked pretty hard to get in this, and it’s nice to actually play good golf when I get here. I didn’t expect to even qualify for the stroke play, so sort of each match getting further and further is getting more exciting, and as I said, if I was to get knocked out, I still wouldn’t be disappointed because I’ve had a great week.”

In the all-Norwegian match up Viktor HOVLAND beat Kristoffer REITAN 7&6 in a surprisingly one sided game.

Here are the full Round 3 results: –

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Match Play Round 3 Results (Photo: USGA)

Match Play Round 2

It was a close run thing but Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG) finally overcame Jesus MONTENEGRO (ARG) in a tight match on the 20th Hole.

Alex pared the par 5 18th to draw level before Montenegro bogeyed the 2nd extra hole to allow the man from Sheffield to progress.

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A. Fitzpatrick v. J. Montenegro Match Play Round 2 Scores (Photo: USGA)

The two other remaining Europeans in the draw are Viktor HOVLAND and Kristoffer REITAN and sadly for Norwegian fans they will play each other in the penultimate game of this afternoon’s series.

Here are the full Round 2 results from Pebble Beach: –

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Match Play Round 2 Results (Photo: USGA)

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Wednesday 15th August 2018

Match Play Round 1

Harry HALL (ENG) lost by 1 Hole to Stewart HAGESTAD (USA). Stewart, the mid-amateur selection for the 2017 U.S.A. Walker Cup team, came into the match full of confidence after recording the lowest qualifying round; a bogey free 66 in his Rd 2 at Pebble Beach yesterday. In a tight match where neither player led by more than one hole Stewart just came out on top.

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S. Hagestad v. H. Hall – Match Play Round 1 Scores (Photo: USGA)

Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG) beat Ian SIEBERS (USA) 2&1. Ian handed control of the match to Alex with four bogeys in the first six holes and Alex was good enough to see it out from there. The draw was perhaps favourable to Alex but the match still had to be won.  Whilst Ian shot a 68, including 7 birdies, at Pebble Beach in Stroke Play Round 2 and qualified strongly in 7th place he is just 16 years old and therefore inexperienced at this level.

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I. Siebers v. A. Fitzpatrick – Match Play Round 1 Scores (Photo: USGA)

After a birdie on the opening hole Eoin LEONARD (IRE) appeared to lose his way on the famous cliff top holes that end Pebble Beach’s front nine, effectively handing the match to Kristoffer REITAN (NOR) with a sequence of bogeys. Reitan is an experienced international player ranked 44th in the SPWAR so there was certainly no shame in losing to him for the in-form Irishman.

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K. Reitan v. E. Leonard – Match Play Round 1 Scores (Photo: USGA)

Here are the complete Round 1 results: –

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Match Play Round 1 Results (Photo: USGA)

Medalist Daniel HILLIER (NZL) safely overcame play-off winner Jacob BERGERON (USA) 3&2.

The main upsets in Round 1 fell in the lower half of the draw which potentially could be good news for Alex Fitzpatrick. Braden THORNBERRY (USA), Collin MORIKAWA (USA) and Justin SUH (USA), all ranked in the SPWAR’s top 10, lost their games. Brad DALKE (USA), runner-up to Curtis Luck in 2016, and highly rated Junior Akshay BHATIA (USA) also lost in this part of the draw.

24-For-1 Play-Off

The sudden death play-off for the 64th and final Match Play spot started at 7.30am (3.30pm BST) on the 17th hole at Pebble Beach. The hole was set at 208 yards for the play off with the flag tucked on the back left hand side of the green.

The play-off was televised in full by the U.S.G.A. and streamed on Facebook and Twitter.

Unsurprisingly given the hole set up and circumstances just two players made birdie on the par 3 from the 24 who were competing. They were Jacob BERGERON (USA), the 12th to tee off, and Peter KUEST (USA), the 24th and last.

Both Bergeron and Kuest then hit great drives into the fairway on 18, the next play-off hole. Unfortunately at that point things went crazy. Bergeron mis-hit his lay up right blocking himself out behind the big tree in front of the green whilst Kuest, going for the green, hooked his approach into the Pacific. To cut a long story short Bergeron ended up winning the hole with a 6 with Kuest could only manage an 8.

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Tuesday 14th August 2018

63 players on +3 or better secured places in the Match Play Stage of the U.S. Amateur championship today.

A further 24 players on +4 will play-off tomorrow morning on Pebble Beach’s 17th hole to determine who takes up the final qualifying spot.

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Stroke Play Qualifying Results Summary (Photo: USGA)

Daniel HILLIER (NZL) secured medalist honours from Cole HAMMER (USA) after both finished on 137 (-6). Daniel edged Cole on Pebble Beach count back. Both played the lead venue on Day 1 with Daniel recording a 67 (-4) to Cole’s 69 (-2).

As expected after Day 1 only Eoin LEONARD (IRE) on 145 +2 [74 SH / 71PB], Harry HALL (ENG) 146 +3 [72 PB / 74 SH] and Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG) 146 +3 [72 PB / 74 SH] qualified from the seven strong Great British and Irish contingent.

Eoin qualified in some style. Standing at +5 after 27 holes he needed something special on Pebble Beach’s front nine to make the cut. Thankfully he was able to deliver a 32 including an eagle and two birdies to qualify comfortably.

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Eoin Leonard’s Front 9 Scorecard At Pebble Beach (Photo: USGA)

Eoin has been seeded 43rd, Alex 56th and Harry 52nd for the Match Play Stage based on their qualifying scores.

Norway’s Kristoffer REITAN Ev T19 and Viktor HOVLAND +1 T24 were the only other European qualifiers. Fred LACROIX (FRA) +4 T64 has the opportunity to make it 8 European qualifiers as he is one of the players contesting tomorrow morning’s 23-for-1 play-off.

Whilst Matthew JORDAN (ENG) 148 +5 [77 SH / 71 PB], Todd CLEMENTS (ENG) 148 +5 [78 SH / 70 PB], Robin DAWSON (IRE) 150 +7 [76 SH / 74 PB] and Gian-Marco PETROZZI (ENG) 150 +7 [78 SH / 72PB] all produced improved scores at Pebble Beach in Round 2 they had simply left themselves too much to do after struggling at the tough Spyglass Hill on Day 1.

Amateur champion Jovan REBULA (RSA) also missed out on with a 148 +5 [76 SH / 72 PB].

ME.

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Monday 13th August 2018

Daniel HILLIER (NZL) and Trevor PHILLIPS (USA) lead the Stroke Play Qualifying competition at the US Amateur Championship at the end of Day 1.

Hillier, 19, shot a 67 (-4) at Pebble Beach which included 5 birdies and an eagle.

Phillips, 20, recorded a 68 (-4) at Spyglass Hill which included 6 birdies, 4 on an unblemished back 9.

Recent winners in the U.S. Isaiah SALINDA (USA) -3 (PB) 3rd, Cole HAMMER (USA) -2 (PB) T4, Akshay BHATIA (USA) -1 (PB) T12 and Michael THORBJORNSEN (USA) -1 (PB) T12 have all clearly brought their form to California.

Hammer is 18, whilst Bhatia and Thorbjornsen are just 16. All three are amongst the favourites this week.

Norway’s Kristoffer REITAN -1 (SH) T12 and Viktor HOVLAND Ev (PB) T28 are the leading European entrants after Round 1.

As you can see from the table below it was a generally disappointing day for the Great British and Irish players. Harry HALL, Alex FITZPATRICK and Eoin LEONARD now have the best chance of making the top 64 Match Play Stage. The other players will need something very special on day 2 to progress where the cut can now be expected to fall at +2 or +3 based on the first round scores.

Amateur champion Jovan REBULA (RSA) also has a lot of work to do if he is to progress.

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Stroke Play Qualifying Round 1 Scores Summary (Photo: USGA)

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Sunday 12th August 2018  

The 118th U.S. Amateur Championship starts tomorrow in Pebble Beach, California.

This year the championship is being staged at Pebble Beach Golf Links and Spyglass Hill Golf Course.

Administered by the United States Golf Association (U.S.G.A.) the U.S. Amateur is the most important and prestigious competition in the amateur golf calendar.

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Competition Format

On Monday 13th and Tuesday 14th August all of the contestants will play 36-holes of stroke play, one at Pebble Beach and the other at Spyglass Hill.

The Top 64 qualifiers will then progress to the match play stage of the competition. Ties for the last qualifying place will be resolved by a sudden death play-off.

18 hole match play rounds will then be played between Wednesday 15th and Saturday 18th, culminating in a 36-hole Championship Final on Sunday 19th August. Extra holes will be played to resolve any halved games.

2018 Field

A field of 312 players from 24 (2017: 29) different countries will contest this year’s Championship.

261 players are from U.S.A. with Canada (10) and Australia (8) the next best represented countries.

This year 96 (2017: 100) 36 hole Sectional Qualifying events were held in July across the USA, with one each in Canada and Mexico too. The introduction of a European Sectional Qualifier, like the U.S.G.A. stage for the U.S. Open Championship, remains long overdue.

This year’s average competitor age is 22.59 (2017: 22.39).

The oldest player will be Paul SIMSON (67, b. 10th May 1951) and the youngest Gaven LANE (14, b. 16th June 2004).

2015 Walker Cup player Mike McCOY will be making his 19th appearance in the Championship.

Denmark’s Nicolai HØSGAARD has chosen not to take up his exemption that came with his European Amateur Championship win at Royal Hague in late June. He is instead playing in the Boys’ Amateur Championship in Northern Ireland, aiming to secure his spot on Europe’s Junior Ryder Cup team.

There are 7 GB&I players competing. There were 9 in 2017 and 11 in 2016 at Riviera and Oakland Hills respectively.

Here is a list of the GB&I players with their exemption category or Sectional Qualifying event noted: –

Todd CLEMENTS (ENG) – Top 50 WAGR 27/6/18

Robin DAWSON (IRE) – Top 50 WAGR 27/6/18

Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG) – Top 50 WAGR 27/6/18

Harry HALL (ENG) – Qualifier at Santa Rosa, California (23/07/17), 68 66 (-10) 1st.

Matthew JORDAN (ENG) – GB&I Walker Cup 2017 and Top 50 WAGR 27/6/18

Eoin LEONARD (IRE) – Qualifier at Westfield, New Jersey (16/07/17), 67 70 (-5) 1st.

Gian-Marco PETROZZI (ENG) – Top 50 WAGR 27/6/18

2018 Stroke Play Qualifying Draw

The draw for the 36-hole Stroke Play Qualifying competition can be viewed here – U.S. Amateur Tee Times

California is 8 hours behind us so much of the action will take place overnight.

Matthew JORDAN and Robin DAWSON are in the same threesome. They will tee off at 8.01am (1st) at Spyglass on Day 1 and 1.16pm (10th) at Pebble Beach on Day 2.

Host Courses

Pebble Beach Golf Links
7,039 yards, Par 71.
Opened in 1919.
Designed by Jack Neville & Douglas Grant (1919) / Herbert Fowler (1920) / H. Chandler Egan (1928) / Jack Nicklaus (1998) / Arnold Palmer & Thad Layton (2007-2016).

Pebble Beach famously enjoys nine holes perched on the cliffs above the Pacific and is one of the world’s finest courses. An occasional criticism is that the poa-annua greens can be bumpy in the morning and late afternoon.

This will be the 12th U.S.G.A. Championship Pebble beach has staged. It has hosted four previous U.S. Amateurs; in 1929, 1947, 1961 and 1999, the latter won by David Gossett.

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Pebble Beach Golf Links (Photo: Bart Keagy)

Spyglass Hill Golf Course
7,049 yards, Par 72.
Opened in 1966.
Designed by Robert Trent Jones (1966) / Tom Fazio (R. 1996).

Spyglass starts with five opening holes set in sand dunes near to the Pacific coast before moving inland to more challenging holes amongst the Monterey pine covered hills. A top rated course in the U.S. many commentators believe it to be nearly as good as Pebble Beach.

Spyglass co hosted the U.S. Amateur in 1999 alongside Pebble Beach.

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3rd Hole, Spyglass Hill Golf Course (Photo: Pebble Beach Company)

Weather Forecast (as at 11.00pm 12th August 2018)

A cool spell of weather is forecast for next week with playing conditions expected to be virtually identical on each day.

Stroke Play Stage
Mon 13th August – Sunny. Wind 8mph (W). Temp. Max. 17°C / Min 12°C.
Tues 14th August – Sunny. Wind 8mph (W). Temp. Max. 17°C / Min 13°C.

Match Play Stage
Weds 15th August – Sunny. Wind 8mph (W). Temp. Max. 17°C / Min 13°C.
Thurs 16th August – Sunny. Wind 8mph (W). Temp. Max. 19°C / Min 12°C.
Fri 17th August – Sunny. Wind 8mph (W). Temp. Max. 20°C / Min 14°C.
Sat 18th August – Sunny. Wind 8mph (W). Temp. Max. 22°C / Min 14°C.
Sun 19th August – Sunny. Wind 8mph (W). Temp. Max. 20°C / Min 14°C.

UK Television Coverage

Sky Sports will be taking the Fox U.S. television feed, via the Red Button, over the final match play weekend.

Prizes

The 2018 U.S. Amateur Champion will receive the following: –

a) A Gold Medal and custody of the Havemeyer Trophy for the following year;

and assuming they remain amateur

b) An exemption to play in the 2019 U.S. Open coincidentally to be staged at Pebble Beach Golf Links;

c) An exemption to play in the 2019 Open Championship at Royal Portrush Golf Club;

d) An invitation to play in the 2019 Masters at Augusta National Golf Club;

e) An exemption to play in the 2019 – 2028 U.S. Amateurs; and

f) Various invitations to play in PGA Tour and European Tour events.

A Silver Medal is awarded to the runner-up and Bronze Medals to the two losing semi-finalists.

The original silver Havemeyer Trophy was presented to the U.S.G.A. on March 1895 in honour of the Association’s first President Theodore A. Havemeyer. This was lost in a fire at Bobby Jones’ home club, East Lake, in 1925.

A new gold trophy was produced in 1926. This was retired in 1992 with a copy of the trophy being produced and passed from champion to champion ever since.

Sadly the original gold trophy was stolen from the U.S.G.A. Museum in 2012 and has never been seen since.

The 2017 U.S. Amateur Championship

img_8417Doc Redman (Photo: U.S.G.A.)

The 2017 U.S. Amateur Championship was played at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles.

Doc REDMAN (USA) won beating Doug GHIM (USA) on the 37th hole of the Championship match.

In an astonishing finish Redman recovered from 2-Down with 2 holes to play. On the 35th hole Redman dropped a 60 foot eagle putt before finishing the match with a birdie on the 36th and a conceded birdie on the first extra hole.

The U.S.G.A. highlights video below is worth watching just for Redman’s putt on the 35th.

2017 U.S. Amateur Highlights (You Tube: U.S.G.A.)

The Stroke Play medalist was Hayden WOOD who broke the U.S. Amateur Championship 36-hole qualifying record with a total of 131. Wood followed his 64 at Riviera with a 67 at Bel-Air to beat the 132 shot by Hank Kim (1994), Gregor Main (2011) and Bobby Wyatt (2012).

Jack SINGH BRAR, Robert MACINTYRE and Connor SYME all qualified for the Match Play Stage. Harry ELLIS lost out in the play-off on Riviera’s famous short par 4 10th hole. His double bogey 6 in the second group out saw him fall out of contention quickly.

Connor SYME went the furthest reaching the Quarter Finals before eventually losing 2&1 to Doug GHIM.

U.S. Amateur Championship History

The U.S. Amateur is the oldest golf championship in America and this will be its 117th playing.

It was first played in 1895, the winner being Charles B. Macdonald.

It has always been decided by match play save for an 8 year period between 1965 and 1972 when the winner was determined solely by stroke play.

Former US winners include Walter Travis (1900-01-03), Jerome Travers (1907-08-12-13), Bobby Jones (1924-25-27-28-30), Francis Ouimet (1914-31), W. Lawson Little (1934-35) Arnold Palmer (1954), Jack Nicklaus (1959-61), Deane Beman (1960-63), Lanny Wadkins (1970), Craig Stadler (1973), Mark O’Meara (1979), Hal Sutton (1980), Phil Mickelson (1990), Justin Leonard (1992), Tiger Woods (1994-95-96), Matt Kucher (1997), Ryan Moore (2004), Peter Uihlein (2010) and Bryson DeChambeau (2015).

British players have won the Championship on six occasions but just twice in the last 100 years – H.J. Whigham (1896-97), Findlay Douglas (1898), Harold Hilton (1911), Richie Ramsay (2006) and Matthew Fitzpatrick (2013).

Matthew Fitzpatrick (Photo: U.S.G.A.)

Italy’s Edoardo Molinari (2005) is the only player from the Continent of Europe to have lifted the Havemeyer Trophy.

Future U.S. Amateur Venues

2019 – Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, North Carolina – Courses No. 2 and 4.

2020 – Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, Oregon

ME.

Copyright © 2014-2018, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

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